Hey Dude! What cameras are you gonna use for that corporate show coming up? Will it be the D810?

I've photographed the upcoming conference a number of times in the past. Two years ago my schedule didn't match up and they had to use someone else but the client came right back last year. Over the five or six years I've been involved with this very private conference of bankers, federal regulators, finance experts, commercial and residential real estate investors and economists I've mostly documented the event with some form of four thirds or micro four thirds cameras and lenses. Last year I mostly used the Olympus EM-5s, with a smattering of Panasonic. When I first started working the event I was using the Olympus E-3 and E-30 cameras along with their fast f2.0 zoom lenses. (Still miss that 35-100mm f2.0, but what a weight monster...).

This year I thought to change the whole paradigm and use the full frame cameras but I just can't bring myself to hoist the bag of what feels like lead weights yet again. I'm remaining loyal to the small cameras for this one. I also dreaded massaging those enormous full frame raw files. Totally unnecessary for this kind of work.

And I'm packing as light as I can. How's this? Two EM5-2 bodies with grips attached. One Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 zoom and one Olympus 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 FT zoom (used with an adapter but originally made for the Olympus Four Thirds, mirrored cameras).  Add to this two of the tiny flashes that shipped with the Olympus cameras and one, bigger Panasonic flash. The final addition to the inventory? A nice monopod for that monster, long lens. Someone has to carry the weight, right?

We'll do social photography on Sunday night at a nice, downtown conference hotel and then begin the show in earnest on Monday morning. Early. Too early. We shot from sun up till sun down on Mon., Tues. and Weds. and we'll have another year's show in the can.

I'm selecting the diminutive system once again because it's small, light and delivers great results. Nearly 100% of the client's use of the images will be on the web and in electronic presentations. It's another area or niche where the absolute "best" can be a hinderance to productivity and workflow.

Also, I may want to switch into video and capture some movement. I'd love to be able to do that handheld. That's playing right into Olympus's strengths...

The end of the week and some thoughts about lighting

Sarah. Post swim, in the studio.

I love the control that knowing how to light gives to photographers. The character of light is a big part of the success or failure of an image. But in the same way that cameras have evolved, and styles of shooting have evolved, the way we light is changing and moving forward from project to project. 

For the assignment I wrapped shooting on today I talked an ad agency out of the "easy" way of doing portraits and set myself up for a lot more intense work instead. They had come to me with the idea of making portraits of 30 attorneys in front of a gray background; or something similar to that. The idea was that we'd set up a standard background, maybe three flash units (main light in a big box, an accent light and a background light) and we'd dutifully stand in a naked and boring conference room waiting for a cattle call line of subjects to arrive, smile at the camera, and then leave.  And we would do this over and over again on the first day and then repeat the whole exercise on the second day. 

I'm sorry but I have to say that I think the factory approach to shooting innocuous and unchallenging portraits has seen its day. We can do better than that. We can light better than that. And even though we may work harder getting there, the ride will be much more fun. 

I asked a few weeks back, just after we sat down to estimate the project, if we could do a quick scout. The folks at the law firm were happy to have me look around their space and the firm's contact person (also an ardent photographer) was more than open to the idea of shooting an available light style and doing the set-ups in different locations around the offices. They have brand new